Shiver

I see this man kneel before me, and he is shivering.

The sky is clear and there is no breeze that might blow clouds and respite our way. It is warm and moisture hangs in the air. Sweat forms on my forehead and flows down to my lips where I lick it off; it burns at the centre of my coarse dry tongue, but its wetness provides some relief. I ignore the pain, and welcome the relief.

The moon is full. Moonlight bathes the parched barren field that been left to burn in the summer. Rains hold a promise often unfulfilled in these parts, and the ground is hot enough to burn naked feet, even at night.

Still, he is shivering. I have a job to do, and he isn't making this easy for me.

It's been a long hard day, and my task remains unfinished. I have a client to report to, and pay, for services rendered, to collect. I also need a drink.

I am an honest and sincere man who doesn't pry too much into other people's lives. I am a working man, and I earn my pay. I am good at what I do; some might even say that I am the best, but a modest man doesn't bother about rankings. I'm given work to do; I plan my tasks and execute them. Sometimes I make mistakes, but I always have backup plans to compensate for them. That is how a professional man must work. That is how I work.

In this heat, the man is shivering. Shivering! After all the hard labour he's done!

The moon is full, and some of my compatriots are superstitious: They don't work on full moon nights. I am not a superstitious man; superstitions are for those who lack self-belief. I don't lack self-belief; I believe I can finish what I set out to do and finish it swiftly and efficiently, but this man, he seems bent on delaying my dinner.

Its probably 35 degrees and he is shivering.

He looks up at me expectantly, but his eyes give him away. I know he's afraid, and I know he knows. I know he knows that I know he knows. But that's the way things are - we all have things that we have to do, tasks to perform. I've performed my tasks to the best of my ability. He hasn't done too badly for himself either.

I know he's not a poor man. He can well afford my services, expensive as they may be. I know he's a lawyer; I know he gets up at 5 in the morning leaves for work at 8; reaches his office by 9:30, eats his lunch in his office, unless he's got a business engagement with a client over lunch; I know he missed lunch thrice last week. He leaves his office by 6pm; stops for drink sometimes, at a pub near his house. I know he prefers his scotch without ice and his women, drunk. Irrespective of where he's spent his evenings, he has slept in his own bed every night, over the last one week at precisely at 11pm. He's a slave to routine; he's a "successful" man.

But this time, it seems he failed to comply to an order. I don't know how and why, because it's not my place to ask how and why. I'm given a job and I do it. That's the way it is with me, and that's the way it should be.

He's failed, and he should know better than to beg. I can't sleep unless I finish my work. In this heat, I'll have to fill the hole he's dug. I should just pull the trigger and let him drop into his grave; I'm feeling hungry, and I need a drink.

I must be getting old: I spend too much time thinking when I should be finishing my work.
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